Where to Sip: Best Bars in Nashville

Designer Jonathan Savage shares some of his favorite Music City spots including this roundup of the best bars in Nashville, from rooftop views to speakeasy chic
nashville rooftop bar, best bars in nashville
L.A. Jackson, rooftop bar at the Thompson hotel, Nashville, TN

L.A. Jackson is the rooftop bar at the Thompson hotel. I love sitting out on the terrace with views of downtown. The mixologists are top-notch. One of my favorite drinks is The Crane, with dark rum, Campari, and fruit juices—very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Embers Ski Lodge in the 12 South neighborhood is, if you can imagine, like the après-ski atmosphere of a ski resort in the heart of Nashville, which makes it very curious. They mix some of the best old-fashioneds (my go-to cocktail), and they prepare all sorts of variations on classic drinks.

best bars in nashville
Bastion, Nashville, TN. Photo by Danielle Atkins

If you like checking out up-and-coming neighborhoods, head to the hip Bastion in Wedgewood-Houston. They love a twist on traditional drinks, as well, and give them wacky names but always tell you exactly what’s in them so there are no surprises. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s my favorite drink there as well.

The Patterson House is a speakeasy with super-talented bartenders. The drink I love, the Elly May, is not on the menu, and I’m not even sure what’s in it, but who cares? It’s fantastic!

The Oak Bar in the Hermitage Hotel is an old-school hotel bar with a good wine list. We come here before or after the ballet or other shows at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. I think they serve the best fried green tomatoes in Nashville, hands down. The Oak Bar is also known for its Art Deco men’s room—all true Nashvillians, both men and women (who are welcome), have been in. It’s lime green and black, and the original shoeshine station is still there.

Produced by Alice Welsh Doyle

More of Jonathan Savage’s Guide to Nashville